Op-Ed: We Must Increase Veterans’ Access to Medical Cannabis
The legalization of recreational cannabis in California has not affected all users equally. Writing in LA Weekly, U.S. veteran and Weed for Warriors Project CEO Sean Kiernan reminds us that medical marijuana still faces some very real hurdles—more than it ever did before.
“...Medical collectives that provide low-cost or free medical cannabis to low-income patients have been forced to close their doors in response to heavy tax burdens created by legalization,” Kiernan writes. “Now, despite legalization, medical cannabis is actually harder for patients and veterans alike to access.”
He praises the passages of Senate Bill 34, just signed by Governor Newsom, which exempts gifted meducal cannabis from taxation. But in order to affect real change, movement will have to take place at the city and county level.
As Kiernan notes, 76% of jurisdictions have an outright ban on retail licensing.
”Local government officials who have continually ignored the will of their constituents who voted in favor of Prop. 64, who have ignored the will of veterans who put our lives on the line for this country — this is your wake-up call,” he concludes. ”Veterans are dying every day from suicide, and elected officials should have all hands on deck making every treatment option available to us. We need to lift local bans on retail licenses, raise restrictive licensing caps that keep new businesses out of the market, and we need to make sure patients, even in rural areas, have access to important cannabis treatments. We also need to make the right to cultivate cannabis at home a basic patient right for all residents in the state, regardless of where they live.”
Read the full op-ed here.